Well, the sky is falling.
It’s taken less than three weeks and we’ve gone from Premier League champions to setting the self-destruct sequence.
Here’s a live look-in at Cobham, where Antonio Conte, taking a brief break from his vacation in whatever sunny, fully 4G-serviced tropical location that may be, is handing in his resignation and hopping on the nearest rocket outta there. (Spoilers for the movie “Sunshine”, which you should see, because it’s great.)
Conte? Resignation? Oh you best believe it. I mean, when Duncan Castles, Mourinho/Mendes mouthpiece and professional
troll journalist says so, you know it’s got to be true.
Antonio Conte, turning into your garden variety Internet mouth-breather is ready to throw his toys out the pram because Chelsea haven’t signed anybody yet. The man who supposedly rejected €100m from Inter Milan to stay with the Chelsea project will now quit the team because half a month into a three-month window, Chelsea have not signed anyone. Granted, it’s best to get new players in before the start of preseason, but even last year Chelsea did not sign anyone until the first week of July (Batshuayi) and didn’t make a second signing until two weeks after that (Kanté).
It should be noted that Castles is not the first to run with this sensationalist claptrap. A report in this morning’s Gazzetta dello Sport got things started, while a recent report on Gianluca Di Marzio’s site also jumped on board. Undoubtedly, the English tabloids will pick this up soon, too. ALL ABOARD THE PANIC TRAIN. Neither GdS nor GDM were willing to put an actual journalist’s byline on their reports. THIS TRAIN WAITS FOR NO ONE.
Duncan Castles, whose Chelsea sources were fired a year and a half ago, lists five demands that Conte has. (So he hasn’t quit yet and he’s just making demands for a new contract? Well then.)
“an aggressive spend on new players”
This is happening.
For what it’s worth, here’s some French reporter claiming that the source of an actual disagreement is related to such spending, specifically to Lukaku’s price (€90m?) which Conte’s apparently urging Chelsea to pay. I cannot speak to the veracity of this reporter or his line of thinking, though considering that Everton are supposedly demanding £100m for Lukaku — peep Everton’s spending today, by the way — the €90m (£80m) is not bad.
De source italienne, Conte veut absolument Lukaku. Ses dirigeants pas chauds à l'idée de débourser 90M€. Désaccord source de grande tension— Bilel Ghazi (@BilelGhazi) June 15, 2017
Back to Castles.
1) A direct line of communication to Roman Abramovich and the owner's first line of command at the club, director Marina Granovskaia.
Antonio Conte and Abramovich famously sat down for a series of meetings back in the fall to discuss transfer plans and other such concerns. At the time, these were reported to mean that Roman was ready to sack the new coach already. Turns out, they were just talking shop. Pretty good direct line of communication, I’d say.
I'd be concerned if anyone actually thinks that a manager couldn't get in touch with his colleagues whenever he wants— Jake Cohen (@JakeFCohen) June 15, 2017
2) Power over the appointment of assistant coaches with the replacement of Steve Holland a priority.
This is another long-running demand, though Conte got to appoint a new goalkeeper coach over the entrenched Christophe Lollichon last summer and bring in a rather sizable new staff (certainly larger than Mourinho’s usual crew). It’s unclear at this point whether Holland will be replaced at all, in fact, with Chelsea hinting at simply going with a coaching staff one-person smaller next season.
3) Full control over Chelsea's academy as a condition of becoming personally involved in the club's youth ranks, including the freedom to introduce a new academy chief.
Why on Earth would he ever want this?
4) Improved financial terms.
And this he will get once the new contract is signed. Obviously this contract is not done yet, though one suspects everyone’s vacation plans have something to do with it.
Or they don’t and we’re heading straight for disaster because the sky is falling and the doom bunkers are closing their doors and THE PANIC TRAIN is leaving and there’s no more room left.
So come, friend, hang out with us at the station. We’ve got cookies and mellow music.
It should be noted that usual tabloid nonsense-peddlers the Daily Mirror have already refuted these reports, presumably calling up their source at the club who then proceeded to have a good laugh before hanging up politely.
The Evening Standard’s Simon Johnson was not far behind.
Everybody just needs to relax and go outside for a while.